Summary: Can we distinquish between what is important and unimportant? Do we spend our lives working for things that do not matter?
I thought in my heart, "Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good." But that also proved to be meaningless.
"Laughter," I said, "is foolish. And what does pleasure accomplish?"
I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly-- my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was worthwhile for men to do under heaven during the few days of their lives. I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired men and women singers, and a harem as well-- the delights of the heart of man. I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me. I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.
This is the 100th anniversary of powered flight! It was 100 years ago that the Wright Brothers successfully flew the first airplane at Kitty Hawk.
After Wilbur and Orville Wright’s successful flight on December 17, 1903, they joyfully sent a telegram to their sister in Dayton, Ohio. The message read: "First sustained flight, 59 seconds. Home for Christmas."
The sister, also elated, ran all the way to the newspaper office with the telegram. Laying the message on the editor’s desk, she announced, "I thought you would want to see this for tomorrow’s paper."
Sure enough, the next day it was in the paper, but you had to look for it. It was buried on page 16, underneath the obituaries. The notice said, "Local bicycle merchants to spend Christmas at home."
Can you believe it? One of the major events of the 20th century and the editor completely missed it.
That editor is not the only one. Many of us have a difficult time sorting through the events of life trying to understand what is important and what is unimportant.
Some of you may have seen the film, "Places in the Heart,” which came out several years ago.
The film concerns a widow, played by Sally Field, trying to raise two young children during the depression. Also living on her farm is a blind man who lives there as a boarder, and a black man whom she puts to work after she has caught trying to steal silver from her home.
Each night, the blind man cranked up the old style Victrola and listened to a recording of a book for the blind. One day, the children sneak into his room and listen to one of the records. Suddenly they hear a noise -- someone is coming -- and quickly put the record away, but as they do, they scratch the record.